Endurance: Michael Matthews

Stage 6 win keeps Matthews in Giro lead

May, 15, 2014
May 15
Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) won stage 6 at the Giro d’Italia on Thursday, a 257-kilometer route that culminated in a steep finishing climb at Montecassino.

Matthews pulled around Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) on the final left turn with 40 meters left in the stage and easily sprinted to the win. Matthews remains the overall race leader, holding a 21-second lead on Evans and a 1:18 gap on Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma-Quick Step).

Matthews and Evans were part of a small group that jumped ahead at the base of the 8.5km finishing climb that featured seven hairpin turns and grades as high as 10 percent. The group opened a gap of around 40 seconds on a pack of chasers that included Nairo Quintana (Movistar), a pre-race favorite.

Eventually the front group was whittled down to four riders, with Evans leading the charge at the flamme rouge. Matthews was glued to his wheel and it was obvious that he was looking for the stage win. With Evans in no hurry to seize the pink jersey, he paced Matthews up the final section before his countryman passed him and grabbed the win. Tim Wellens (Lotto-Belisol) placed second in the stage ahead of Evans.

“I felt really good coming into the climb,” Matthews said in a team release. “When BMC hit the front, it was all about being in the right position. I knew I had the chance to win when we came into the last kilometer and still felt pretty good.”

Late crash fractures peloton
With 11K left, just after the speeding peloton swallowed up a four-man breakaway that spent much of the day at the front of the race, several riders went down in a series of crashes. More rain created another slippery surface and, with brakes and wheels coated with water the ability to stop quickly was virtually impossible.

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